A primer on how to buy “Rusty Riley” original art: Part 6 — Craft . . .

Note:  As I mentioned at the beginning of earlier posts in this series, I may be selling some of my original Rusty Riley art in the near future, probably starting within the next few months — maybe about fifteen daily strips and maybe about four Sunday strips.  Also, I may sell a few of my Frank Godwin paintings in the near future as well.  I suppose it was largely with that in mind that I decided to put together a little guide to purchasing Rusty Riley original art.

This post is Part 6.

In this post, I will continue to go through my “Six ‘Cs’ of Collecting Rusty Riley Original Art.”

4.  Craft (something like style)

I’m not going to spend much time in this post talking about “craft” in Frank Godwin’s Rusty Riley daily strips.  Te basic fact, though, is that some of the strips show more virtuosity than others, more complexity.  Some are amazingly sophisticated.  Others are quite, quite simple, and, well, kind of “ordinary.”

If you look at this earlier post, in which I talk about the “many faces of Patty Miles,” you will see that some portrayals are more fully detailed than others.  There, I show examples from 1949, 1955 (two examples), 1956, 1957, 1958, and 1959.  The version of Patty (style-wise) that I prefer (of those examples shown) is that for 1957.  Of course, this going to be a matter of personal preferences.

Possibly the simplest, most “lean” version of Patty shown there, though, is the one for 1959.  The version shown in that earlier post is from the original art.  Below is shown a little more of the strip, from a September 27, 1959, issue of The San Francisco Examiner.  This version shown is part of an array of six daily strips, publish in the newspaper of one-week-and-a-day after the 9-19 date of the final syndicated Rusty Riley daily strip.  The six-at-a-time format is quite a convenient one!  (Just because Patty is rendered “simply” for September 15 does not necessarily say anything about her appearance in other very late episodes.)

The last two panels of Frank Godwin's "Rusty Riley" daily comic-strip for September 15, 1959, almost at the end of the strip's twelve-year run.  This particular daily is remarkable for the unusually spare treatment in its style and composition.

The last two panels of Frank Godwin’s “Rusty Riley” daily comic-strip for September 15, 1959, almost at the end of the strip’s twelve-year run. This particular daily is remarkable for the unusually spare treatment in its style and composition.

You can see that the simplicity of Patty’s appearance goes well with the two panels shown.  The remaining panel (first of the strip) is quite similar to the second and third panels.  The straightforward simplicity of that day’s episode was dictated by the fact that Godwin needed to impart a lot of information, and not much was going on, action-wise.  Also of interest is the comparative drabness of the “newspaper” version when compared to the original art (which is on whiter paper and shows the light-blue wash).

I guess if there is a rule of thumb here, it is this:  if a strip is more involved, more detailed, more fully refined, it will tend to be better than a strip such as the one shown.  I am not knocking the strip shown, however.  As I have made clear, I own the original art for it, and I like it, not only because it is one of the very last strips, and part of a sequence I own, but because its simplicity is in such contrast to typical other strips.  This scene is part of the “lull before the storm” (literally and figuratively) in the final strips.

—Tom Sawyer

November 2, 2013

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